Kirk Cousins will be Washington's starting quarterback in Thursday night's game against the Giants. But who, exactly, is the team's quarterback of the future?
Cousins is technically the backup to injured Robert Griffin III, and he'll play for the next month or two as Griffin's ankle injury heals. When Griffin comes back, though, coach Jay Gruden did not sound committed to returning the reins to RG3.
"Crazy things have happened in the NFL," Gruden said. "I'm not going to discount anybody or anything. I'm not going to try and pull out a crystal ball and say what is going to happen tomorrow or next week. I know the six weeks, we are going to concentrate on Kirk as a quarterback. We feel very strongly that he can get the job done. Whatever happens after that, I will deal with then. Right now, let's just make this about Kirk and get him ready to go."
The Redskins made a serious investment in Griffin when they drafted him, trading picks to climb up to the second overall selection in 2012. They won the division with him running all over the league as a rookie, but a knee injury in the playoffs proved Griffin's vulnerability. Cousins threw for 427 yards Sunday against the Eagles, completing 30 of 48 passes, including three touchdowns. It was the fourth-most passing yards by a Washington quarterback in a regular-season game since 1970.
"The best I can say is he is going out there, he's preparing himself and he is giving us an opportunity to win some games," receiver DeSean Jackson said. "It is unfortunate for Robert Griffin III to go down with the injury that he has, but it is professional football, things happen. Anytime you are given an opportunity to step in and make big plays and help produce as far as offense, I think he has done a great job in doing that."
Not every team would be able to have a starting-caliber quarterback step in when their actual starter is lost for an extended period.
"We are very fortunate and I know it won't last forever," Gruden said, suggesting that there is not room in Washington's future for both Griffin and Cousins. "[Cousins] has been out there playing. We have to do the best we can with him and keep working with him and get him ready to go. He is a very good quarterback, and very smart. As a backup quarterback, sometimes the most difficult thing is not getting the reps and learning from your mistakes. He has had to take second fiddle to Robert [Griffin III] and Robert has gotten all the reps from training camp on, pretty much. Kirk has taken a few and done the best he could, and really studies in the meeting rooms and he really has prepared himself and it showed Sunday."